Our children bring us many gifts: one of these is the opportunity to experience unconditional love. As parents we can mature and become more selfless in ways that can help us serve our beautiful Earth. I came across Waldorf Education because I was looking for an education system that would help to develop my children’s love for the world. During the 1980s I had studied Art at Stellenbosch University. I went on to study Martial Arts and taught that for five years. In the 1990s I studied Hair Care, to have a portable, hands-on career. Once my children were almost school-ready, in the early 2000s, I did the Waldorf Teacher Training Diploma at the CCE in Plumstead.
I worked as Kindergarten Aftercarer at Michael Oak Waldorf School for three years during my studies and once I had completed my course, I stepped into my first position as Class Teacher in 2004. Both my children attended Michael Oak School as I grew with my first class, which matriculated during 2016. I was in the fortunate position to experience the wonderful Waldorf curriculum both in my own class and through the eyes of my daughter and son, who had very different experiences in their classes. After completing my first cycle, I committed for a further four years, as that would take my son to his matric year and I was looking forward to different challenges and growth opportunities.
My second Class Teaching Cycle started in 2011 with a lively group of little angels, who are now all finishing grade eight! During our third year together I decided to change direction and we said our goodbyes at the end of 2013. The following year I started working part time at the CCE, teaching the students all the creative subjects that class teachers use to work with their children. I did this for two years and was asked to take a new one for a year in Roseway, Hillcrest, KZN. The possibility was there for me to stay on and carry the class for a further six years, but I missed my home and life in Cape Town too much to wish to commit for the full duration of Class Teaching. I stayed on in KZN for half a year, teaching Creativity classes in a beautiful studio in a friend’s home in Alverstone. I used my experience with artistic media to help adults rediscover their inner creativity through painting and drawing. I enjoy reading and research into using the arts to facilitate self-awareness through creativity. Every time I see how people of all ages engage through creative expression, I feel blessed to be part of the process.
Teacher Bonnie had been a fourth year student at the CCE during my first year there as lecturer, so I hardly spent any time working with her group. When I found out that Imhoff was looking for a replacement teacher for Bonnie’s sabbatical period, I thought it a wonderful synchronicity that I would have the opportunity to work with Class Twos at the end of their year, when the last children I taught had been Class Ones, in 2016!
Of course, every year children bring new and different energies to the world, and our dear Class Twos are certainly a strong group of individuals! Our last term is only 45 days short, and Teacher Bonnie made sure I had all the requirements to be worked with, and here we are! The children have a keen interest in anything practical, real and hands-on. They LOVE hearing a story and creating beautiful, rich images relating to it. They enjoy working rhythmically, using times tables or poetry as the basis to movement. We are now ending the year with the antics of Kalulu the Hare during our Writing Main Lesson. The children easily identify with the antics of this trickster of the fables during their eighth and ninth years. Our final Numberwork Main Lesson will be carried by our Saints stories and, of course, we have nature stories woven throughout the weeks.
One of the things I am called to engage in is the art of compassionate listening, as a great need is felt these days to be truly heard. We all need an ear, an open heart and the arts to enrich our lives. I am grateful for this opportunity to see the Class Twos to the end of their second year and I am confident that when Teacher Bonnie returns, rested and refreshed, her little ones will be a wee bit less little!
Charlene Jefferies, Class 2 teacher